Updated · Feb 11, 2024
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SD cards have gained immense popularity as storage devices, particularly among electronic gadgets like smartphones, SLRs, and other devices.
With SSD memory costing several times higher per gigabyte than traditional storage, newer MacBooks often have less storage than their older hard disk counterparts.
The SD card will be handy for professional users like photographers and video producers, allowing them to transfer files quickly.
Before use, SD cards must be formatted to modify the file system and ensure privacy.
Learn how to format your SD card using different methods and issues you might encounter when formatting it through this article.
🔑 Key Takeaways
When a user format an SD card, all the data is erased, creating a fresh directory structure from which your camera or device may store new data.
Consider it a simple method to start over with the card—no files, no occupied space, just a space for your new data.
There are many reasons to format your memory card on Mac before using it. These reasons are the following:
Different file systems are compatible with diverse devices. Therefore, you must modify the file system to make your secure digital media compatible with a specific device. This necessitates formatting it in the requisite file system.
If your data drive becomes infected with a virus or you receive a message that the disk is corrupted or illegible when attempting to access it, formatting it resolves the issue.
It is one of the most effective methods for preparing your storage drive for reuse.
👍 Helpful Article: Read our Techjury article How to Get Rid of a Virus to learn various virus removal methods for your PC.
When you need to free up space on your storage media, you can format files to delete them. It will create more space for you by removing any existing data that you no longer need.
Now that you've learned why formatting an SD card is necessary, you'll be ready to do it confidently using the following methods.
If you're using an SD card for the first time, changing projects, or encountering problems like error messages, formatting the card is recommended. It won't take a few minutes to format the SD card using your Mac.
You can walk through the processes of formatting an SD card on your Mac using the following steps.
A quick way to format an SD or MicroSD card is doing it on Mac. The good news is that you do not need to acquire an expensive app to accomplish this; everything you need is already included in the macOS operating system.
Here’s a quick way to format an SD or MicroSD card on a Mac using the Disk Utility App:
Another option is using the Terminal application to reformat an SD card on a Mac. However, this is a more sophisticated method for working with SD cards and is best suited for more experienced users.
Using the Terminal app requires specific command knowledge. This program supports the formatting of cards of any capacity.
These are the processes required to use Terminal:
📝 Note: The location /dev/disk4 is just an example. The actual location of your SD card can be different. The diskutil list command gives information about your SD card location.
Using the Terminal application's dd command, delete the contents of an SD card on a Mac. Ensure you have a backup of your files and folders before executing this command, as it will result in total data loss.
The SD Association also provides free alternative applications for formatting an SD card on a Mac. Learn more about these third-party apps in the next section.
Built-in formatting tools on Mac and Windows can usually format SD cards. However, users may need to optimize them for SD/SDHC/SDXC cards, resulting in inferior performance.
It is highly recommended that you use SD Card Formatter to get the best performance out of your SD cards, as they can fail under the weight of everything that arrives on your mobile phone via messaging services.
To know more about these alternatives you can use, read the following.
SD Formatter can format any file system or device. User options include Quick format and Overwrite format.
Here’s a simple method for using SD Formatter.
Once formatting is complete, the SD card will be available for use. The SD card's maximum capacity is also restored after formatting.
Drives, including detachable ones, can be partitioned, deleted, and formatted. The cleaning procedure takes a few minutes, and formatting a simple flash drive or an external hard drive follows the same pattern.
Mac users who need to create, delete, resize, relocate, or clone hard drive partitions will find iPartition a handy solution. It is compatible with both internal and external devices without destroying irreplaceable data.
Here’s how to navigate your iPartition program:
If you like the program after trying the trial version and decide to purchase it, you can do so via the official website.
Discover the common issues you might encounter when formatting an SD card on a Mac in the following section.
You may encounter various issues when formatting an SD card on a Mac. These issues are usually caused by malware or any software anomaly that may have corrupted the card.
In addition, the SD card may be password-protected, or you may have improperly ejected the card.
Here are some common problems that users face and their possible solutions:
Some SD cards are write-protected, preventing you from modifying the stored data. This feature safeguards data to prevent accidental deletion. Still, it may prevent you from formatting an SD card on a Mac.
Here's how to resolve the situation:
Extracting the files from the memory card before moving forward with the formatting process is crucial to avoid losing all the data stored there.
However, you cannot extract files on a corrupted card, so the card has to be repaired first.
Here are the methods that may help if the corruption of the SD card is logical by nature.
📝 Note: To check for errors using the command line tool, run diskutil list to see the disk location of your SD card. Then, run diskutil verifyDisk [disk location].
If the card “appears to be OK” according to the terminal results, you can extract your files and then format the SD after all the essential files are copied.
If First Aid fails to repair the error on a Mac, the unreadable SD card must be reformatted to be usable.
To avoid data loss, however, you should still try to recover data from the unreadable SD card and then reformat the card to solve the Mac not reading SD card error.
Data Recovery steps:
After data recovery, you can format the SD card to make it readable again.
SD card formatting is crucial for multiple purposes. First, it ensures your memory card is free of corrupt files, malware, and viruses.
Second, it can enhance the efficacy of your memory card by freeing up space and facilitating the reading and writing of data by your device.
Following the aforementioned procedures will allow you to use your memory storage devices for additional endeavors.
However, you should be cautious when formatting the memory card, mainly when using Disk Utility. This can delete data from a different storage device.
That could be because your MacBook's card reader or SD card port might be defective. It could also be a virus infection, SD card corruption, or incorrect system settings that cause external drives to be hidden or SD cards to be unreadable on a Mac.
The FAT32 file system cannot store files larger than 4 GB, whereas the NTFS file system can. The NTFS file system has a higher disk utilization rate and can manage disk space more efficiently than FAT32.
exFAT is better than FAT32 because it addresses FAT32's most limiting characteristics: file and drive capacities. FAT32 cannot manage partitions or files larger than 8TB or 4GB. In contrast, exFAT can manage files and partitions up to 128 petabytes, or 128,000 terabytes.
Select 'Properties' from the list of options accessible by right-clicking the drive. A new window will appear with your drive's information, including its file system. If 'exFAT' or 'NTFS' is displayed, it indicates that the current format is not FAT32.
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